| Rick Perry's campaign has been such a disaster that he's not even going to this week's "conservative leaders" retreat... and it's even being held here in Texas!
A group of movement conservatives has called an emergency meeting in Texas next weekend to find a "consensus" Republican presidential hopeful, POLITICO has learned.
"You and your spouse are cordially invited to a private meeting with national conservative leaders of faith at the ranch of Paul and Nancy Pressler near Brenham, Texas, with the purpose of attempting to unite and to come to a consensus on which Republican Presidential candidate or candidates to support, or which not to support," read an invitation that is making its way into in-boxes this morning.
The meeting is being hosted by such right-leaning figures as James Dobson, Don Wildmon and Gary Bauer. Many of the individuals on the host list attended a previous closed-door session with Rick Perry this summer.
These dudes really, really don't want Mitt Flip-Flop Romney to win the nomination because he's simply not their brand of right-wing Christian conservative.
According to Wayne Slater, the guest list includes a who's who of crazy religious bigots, including Faith in the Family founder James Dobson, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Zionist leader John Hagee of San Antonio, Kelly Shackelford of the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute and Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, the hate group that sponsored The Response.
The group will work to unite behind one, count him one, right wing religious zealot to oppose Romney and prevent the former Massachusetts governor from winning the nomination.
Slater spoke to a participant off the record about the upcoming meeting, emphasis mine:
"The goal is to come together around somebody who will carry our issues and won't abandon those issues when he becomes president," [unnamed source] said. Romney is seen as too moderate and unreliable on issues important to religious conservatives. He said that Christian conservatives have divided their support among Perry, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann. And months of efforts to convince leaders to consolidate around one candidate have failed. Now that Bachmann has dropped out, he said the emphasis will be on making Perry, Santorum or someone else the consensus candidate. "I think it's going to happen. It could take weeks and weeks, but it will happen." Even Newt Gingrich, who targeted Romney with harsh words Wednesday in New Hampshire as soft on abortion, is a possible consensus candidate, although he's "not their first choice.
Will the group decide to back Santorum after a close second in Iowa? Or will his Google Problem -- not to mention his actual voting record in the Senate and support of Arlen Specter -- prove problematic with both GOP voters and the November general electorate? (Plus the fact that he's widely remembered as being kookoobananas crazy and all but guarantees Obama a win in Pennsylvania?)
Or will this be Perry's own Battle of San Jacinto, as he's finally able to get rid of all of the other not-Mitts and become the de facto choice of the right wing?
Regardless, it's fascinating to see these right wing religious zealots working so hard to prevent Romney from winning the nomination (and potentially the White House). It makes you wonder -- if Romney does win the nod, will these electioneering hate mongers go full bore to elect him?
Or perhaps instead, this group will sit this round out and "let" Obama win, preparing for an open race in 2016 when they might have an easier path to nominating a right-wing religious conservative.